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Transcript of Bhopal Disaster
MIC storage tank #610 filled beyond recommended capacity
Filled to: 87%
Excess reserve tank already filled
Needed extra tank for emergencies
Too much MIC being produced
Consensus over contamination
Depth up to 2 meters
- Neutralization Pits and Disposal Areas
- Sevin Plant and Formulation Plant
The information and the results that we found supported our hypothesis. The disastrous environmental and biological effects of the Bhopal disaster would have, indeed, been reduced had the MIC been properly stored and machinery defects been solved.
INPUT FROM EXPERTS:
We contacted experts from International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal and the Dow Company and they gave us valuable statistics.
Ex: The ICJB provided information about the recommendation storage capacity of MIC, which was previously mentioned to have been 50%.
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By: Esther Liu, Chris Wong, Jennifer Yi, Louisa You
Chemistry photos here (2)
If the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, had been prepared with a working disaster response system and proper storage of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, then the effects of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy could have been greatly reduced.
Biological Effects of Hydrogen Cyanide
Waste and Byproducts
Isomers of HCH
Clay with low permeability
Higher concentration north-east
1984 : Highly toxic waste left
350 tonnes of stored waste
10 toxic sites
Plant has not been dismantled
1.1 million tonnes of soil
Remediation of groundwater by 'Pump and Treat'
Protecting annual surface water runoff
Decontaminating and decommissioning plant
Excavation and recineration of waste
Storage Tank: Original Piping and Instrumentation Diagram
Production of insecticide carbaryl (trade name "Sevin") required MIC as chemical intermediate
Improper temperature and pressure for stored MIC
Gauges measuring temperature and pressure were notoriously unreliable
Were thus ignored by workers
Issues With Storage Tank Operating Methods
Originally, transfer pumps used to export MIC into derivatives unit
Alternative method used
Raised MIC storage tank pressure
Reverse-flow into derivatives unit (Alternate Pathway)
Interruption of excess nitrogen flow
Corrosion of vent lines --> Rust
Rust catalyzes formation of MIC
Amount of MIC contained less than 50%
Stored MIC at appropriate temperature (0°C) and pressure
Batch production of MIC
Proposed by Edward Munoz
Would have eliminated large quantities of stored MIC on site
Not as much MIC spread to civilian areas
Produce carbaryl without MIC
Downside: greater manufacturing cost
A few months prior, a report presented to UCC officials described the facility as
"strewn with oily old drums, used piping, pools of used oil and chemical waste likely to cause fire"
warped and corroded equipment
absence of automatic sprinklers
leaks of phosgene, MIC, chloroform
inadequately trained staff and unsatisfactory instruction methods (20)
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13. Kobayashi, Mitsuo, and Masamitsu Tamura. "Leakage of Toxic Methyl Isocyanate Stored in a Tank at a Chemical Plant." Failure Knowledge Database. Accessed January 14, 2015.
14. "Methyl Isocyanate." United States Environmental Protection Agency. April 1, 1992. Accessed January 29, 2015.
15. Mokhiber, Russell. "Union Carbide and the Devestation of Bhopal." Corporate Crime & Violence 8, no. 4 (1987). Accessed January 16, 2015.
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19. "TED Case Studies." Bhopal Disaster. Accessed January 31, 2015.
20. "The Bhopal Gas Tragedy." ICMR- A Case for Every Class. January 1, 2002. Accessed January 25, 2015.
21. "The Bhopal Disaster, Yesterday and Today: A System of Mass Destruction." A World to Win. February 27, 2005. Accessed February 5, 2015.
22. "What Happened in Bhopal?" International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. Accessed January 19, 2015.
Facitities Turned Off
Refrigeration Unit (cooling system)
Shut off 5 months prior to save money
Could neutralize MIC with caustic soda, but designed for 1/4th the pressure reached
On standby since October
Turned off so as to not cause alarm
Facilities Needing Improvements
Awaiting pipe replacement
Could contain 1/4 pressure reached
Set at ~13m, too short
"Knock Down" Tank
Could contain mass of chemicals that bubbled over
~ Technological and engineering failure
~ Working and functional refrigeration unit
~ Capable gas scrubber
~ Adequate alarm and gauge system
~ Repaired and capable flare tower
~ Adequate water curtain
~ Functional "knock-down tank (like that of the US plant)
Lack of medical preparedness
At least 3,500 verified deaths
Human injuries range from two to six hundred thousand
Biological Effects of MIC
Patients separated into four categories, each category increasing in severity
1. Minor eye ailments, throat irritation
2. Severe conjuncitivits, keratitis
3. Severe pulmonary oedema
Most important findings
Necrotizing and ulcerative changes
Severe tracheitis and bronchitis
Denudation of the epithelium
Congestion and thickening of the alveolar septa
Eosinophilic albuminous fluid
Signifies a severe disturbance in lungs
Equivalent to directly
Our Proposed Solution
MIC + 200°C = hydrogen cyanide (HCN)
Cherry-red color of blood and lungs
Sodium Thiosulfate (NaTS)
Extremely effective for detoxification for cyanide poisoning
First Aid Team
Emergency first aid procedures
Personal Protective Equipment
MIC as a Chemical Intermediate for Carbaryl
UCIL plant in Bhopal, India
15,000 dead, 150,000 injured
500 liters of water into MIC